Liberia: “This Is Your Final Exam”

Liberia U17 national team squad along with LFA president Mustapha Raji and EC member Ivan Browne at the ATS after a pre-departure meeting  

— Raji tells Team Liberia ahead of 2022 WAFU ‘A’ U17 Tournament

The U17 national football team of Liberia will leave the country on Wednesday, September 28 to travel to Nouakchott, Mauritania, for the 2022 WAFU ZONE A U17 Tournament.

The tournament, which will last from October 1 through 10, is a zonal qualifier for the 2023 AFCON U17 Cup of Nations.

The two finalists of the tournament will earn a spot in the U17 AFCON.

In a pre-departure meeting with the team at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium, LFA president Mustapha Raji urged the players to go and make history for the nation.

Raji informed the team that they can exceed the records of the men’s under-15 to under-17 teams that won the Gothia and Dana Cups in Sweden and Denmark from 1997 to 1999.  

“That was a great team and many of the players went on to play for the senior national team but they didn’t get the opportunity to play in WAFU or the African finals. 

“You have the chance now to play in the WAFU to qualify for the African finals and on to the World Cup finals. Most of you started with the under-15 that went to Guinea in May 2021.

“You have taken many tests in the form of friendlies with teams across all divisions in Liberia and international clubs and teams. The WAFU is now your final exam. 

“Go and make Liberia proud and create your own history. So that Liberians can be proud of you and begin to talk about you. Don’t be distracted by agents promising to take you to Europe. You are the new dream team,” LFA quotes Raji. 

The U17 national team were paired in Group A alongside hosts Mauritania and Sierra Leone, while Group B comprises Senegal, Cape Verde, and Mali.

“We have three objectives that we are carrying to Mauritania. If we can’t win the WAFU, then we must qualify for the African finals. If we can’t win the African finals, then we must qualify for the World Cup finals. And if we can’t win the World Cup, then we must reach the [grand] final,” head coach Ansumana Keita reminded his squad.